Welcome to 2017! Woohoo! Literally nothing has changed and that is why I love/hate new years. More on that later. For now, I am sharing a Lauren-Likes State Of The Union for 2017. Paul Jarvis started this and then all my favorite creatives followed suit and I thought it was a great idea to share with you a summary of last year, to help me wrap my mind around it and to cast a bit of vision for you and I for 2017.
What Worked Well In 2016
Get Messy is the first and foremost thing that is working well in my online/business life. In 2016 we saw Get Messy grow exponentially and by that I mean it grew 5x it’s original size from January to December. Get Messy has my heart and all my commitment and Caylee and I are determined to see it become the most comprehensive place to go for all your art journaling needs. I am so thankful for the amazing group of women who are a part of this program and would love for everyone to be able to enjoy and experiences it’s benefits.
Travel Like An Artist launched and was successful measured by the fact that more than 2 people signed up! YAY! Way more! YAYYAY! I have been wanting to launch this class (plus a complimentary course) for 2 years now and I finally, finally forced myself to get it out into the world. It truly is my favorite topic to talk about: Travel + Crafting, so I am so proud that I created the course and it is all self hosted on my own new course site, so many more courses can be added. Thanks to the lovely Caylee Grey, the site is beautiful and functional and I could NEVER have done it without her help, encouragement and accountability.
Painting. This is the year that I really truly fell in love with abstract acrylic painting. I feel there are an infinite number of possibilities for these paintings and I love exploring new techniques and new mediums. This has been the most fun and personal creative project I have taken on, since art journaling, and I cannot wait to grow and invest in it more.
How She Creates the podcast launched! Caylee had this fantastic idea to interview creative people just about art and not about business (like most ‘creative’ podcasts out there are) and I jumped on board SO FAST. I love chatting with Caylee and this has been the BEST way to become friends with artists I admire and love so much. It has been such a fun and new learning curve and the feedback has been so encouraging. I think my favorite conversations have been with Yao Chang and Amy Tan, who I never dreamed I would have gotten to talk to and that they would be the NICEST humans EVER.
Going to bed earlier has made all the difference in the world. I’ve always had a problem with staying up late and being late to everything. We have been slowly moving bedtime up and I’ve been listening to my body more and have been much better about finding that sweet spot for sleep. Also, all hail the fitbit for helping me track and goal set for this. I honestly gave up on hitting my step count a long time ago, but you better believe I obsessively check my sleep goal and data.
Travel has been slow, easy and much more balanced this year. When we first started travelling we tried to do all the things, all the time. Now we take it slow, build in time for rest and do what we like most. This year we visited Vietnam (twice), Thailand, Cambodia, America (twice), Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, The Philippines and Turkey. In Korea, we have visited Sokcho, Andong, Wolchulson National Park, Muuido Island and Jeju Island. My favorites were Turkey and Slovenia, which surprised me so much because they were kind of after thought trips, but they were beautiful, delicious and so inspiring. We also were able to make travelling coordinate with friends, like Caylee and friends from back home and took four trips with friends and they were by far our favorite experiences! My family came to visit us in Korea in 2016 and that may have been the highlight of our 3 years living here! It was so incredibly fun to be tourists and we did so many things that we had never done because they are ‘touristy’ things and it was so fun to show our world to my family and I am eternally grateful that they chose to come.
Reading. Its been a good year for books. Again, it’s always a balance, but I am making more time and trying to make reading a nightly habit. I tend to read in spurts where I will be obsessed, then I will get bored and be obsessed with tv shows for a while and Im just leaning into those times where reading is what I crave and being ok when it isn’t. I have also let myself off the hook and allow myself to read what I like! Sometimes I feel like I should be reading business or spiritual books to help me grow and learn, but sometimes I just want to blow through a murder mystery, get lost and feel intrigued! So I have realized that if I need to get back into the reading mindset, a thriller is best! We have also set a pretty good habit of listening to audiobooks together when we travel and this is by far one of my favorite things we do.
Relationships. This year was a good year for friendships. People have been having babies and getting knocked up left and right and has only added so much joy to our relationships. We have taken multiple trips with friends and we started a supper club, inspired by Jen Hatmaker and it has truly enriched our lives and created a solid network for us. This is what makes leaving Korea so hard, oh and the food. Business wise, I could not have a better partner, and friend, in Caylee and I am so lucky to have her expertise and generosity on my side. I cannot wait for her new baby to join our little misfit internet family very soon! Our family has also been so incredibly supportive of us this year as we have been away for 3 years now and are, likely, planning to continue that for the unforeseen future. We are grateful for their willingness to use Facetime and the USPS to stay in touch. Our friends from back home always continue to surprise us as they have worked hard to remember time differences, schedule facetime chats and support us, lovingly, no matter the distance. We have been truly blessed by the relationships we have in our real life and online. I constantly receive mail from online friends and every time I think, ‘How am I so lucky…’.
What Didn’t Work So Well In 2016
Blogging. Oh jeez. I know that this space has turned into a personal journal and I love/hate this. I want to record my life on my blog and want to share personal things with my readers and friends. But I also know that I want to share art, tips, tutorials, ideas, inspiration and more here. Blogging has been the thing that had to take a backseat to all the other amazing and creative things I did this year but was a constant source of guilt and frustration for me.
Newsletter. Same as blogging, I completely neglected this source of connection with my people! Then when I do want to post something, I feel bad about the crazy amount of time in between and don’t post…so yeah.
Time management + taking on too much. This is something I felt a lot of guilt and stress over the past year, but I have finally come to the conclusion that I am working TWO full time jobs and trying to have a life. The life part took a bit of a backseat and when my husband said ‘maybe next year when you only have one job, we can do stuff again’ it broke my heart a bit. I have had to let go of some things and of perfection and just do the best I could, while putting myself first (ish). I got much better about saying no and being more realistic with my time near the end and this helped immensely.
Spending time just relaxing. Related to the one above, I spent most of my evenings blindly staring at my computer and not being productive or restful because I felt like I ‘needed’ to be working, but was too tired and burnt out to actually use my mind to do work and therefore passed up on a lot of reading, movies, exploring, events, friendships and relaxing that I should have been saying yes to.
Losing all control and eating all the things. I started the school year off with such high hopes to get back in shape, etc, etc. This last for about a month and then by the end of the year I was binge drinking soda and eating candy because my life literally depended on it. So I’m starting out the year with Whole30 to kick sugar to the curb and gain back some control over my snacking, energy levels and mood.
Project Life. Yeesh, I love this project so much…in theory. I almost completed 1 spread this year. I do want to keep this up, but I don’t get excited to work on it anymore, definitely am not in the habit of it and get a little crazy and spend too much time making it ‘look good’ to blog or instagram. So I’m planning to scrap that idea and take a weekend to make a few spreads to summarize last year and may or may not share them. Im trying to take the pressure off of this project and see if my love for it will come back to me… We’ll see.
Church. I very cautiously share this because I know many will not understand or agree, but I feel that the only way to grow and support one anther is through painful transparency at times. This is the first time in almost 20 years that we have not been attending church regularly. Not because of a change in our faith or beliefs or commitment to Christ, but because of where we have found ourselves in our community. There is a lot more that goes into this that is a long convo for another time and place, but we felt that this year the best choice for us was to focus on rest, our own Biblical studies and time together. We have not regretted this decision once, guilt from what others would think is always in the back of my mind, but this was the right choice for us at this time in our life but we are very excited about the potential of the new communities and churches we will experience with our move.
State Of Things To Come in 2017
Blog Schedule. My goal is to blog 4-5 times a week, when I am working for myself fulltime, around August. Some people say blogging is dead but I disagree and also don’t care. For now, I would like to publish just one very helpful, art related blog post a week. Sometimes it may be travel or personal, but one blog post a week. Any other smaller posts or project shares after that is fine.
Moving. We are officially moving…to nowhere. Yet. We are still interviewing and waiting and talking and hoping and dreaming. This is the least stressful move for me and in this current phase I am enjoying and appreciating that right now and will be focused on purging stuff, shipping stuff, learning a new language, finding a new place to live, getting a new address and residency visa and a million other things, later. But for now, we are focused on enjoying Korea. Then we will focus on moving, then we will focus on learning and exploring our new country. This is best summed up by my good friend Hagrid, “What’s coming will come and we will meet it when it does.”.
New Courses. Oh! Im so excited to bring you new courses to Lauren-Likes and Get Messy. Im already working on the companion course to Travel Like an Artist, which is about journaling your travels. I would like to focus on more art + travel courses later in this year. Courses are one of my favorite things to work on and the best way to support my business, so I plan for these to be an important part of my time once I become a full time, online business owner!
Marketing. I don’t plan on releasing a 100 new courses, but I do plan on spending the time marketing the ones I do have. I want to connect with more creative travellers and welcome them into my fold. So this means more intentional sharing and creating new content related to my current courses.
Relaxing, days off, no more self induced pressure. I am committed to taking time off, really off, not just staring at my screen off. I will read, watch tv, do puzzles, go out, stay in, be lazy, have fun. I am letting go of feeling like I owe everyone everything, saying no and creating boundaries with myself. I am the worst at telling myself no…which leads me to my word for the year:
FREEDOM. This year I want to feel free with my time, in my art, in myself. Free to make things, to relax, to be bold. No judgement, pressure or chains. Freedom.
Life in Quarters. I have decided to no longer set yearly goals, I have talked about this before. My life runs based around the school year and one calendar year is really 2 halves of separate years for us. But, as you can see, even with that, this year will be full of very literally different places and events. I am working to set goals, projects and plans based on the quarters instead of yearly. I honestly do not remember any of the goals I set for myself from a year ago, even if I set it at the beginning of the school year. I am currently working through the 90 Day Year program and plan to also work on goals and habits and events this way also. It makes so much more sense, gets me more excited and much less overwhelmed.
Living healthy. As I stated I am doing Whole30 and have cut sugar, carbs, dairy and a slew of other foods out of my diet. I don’t plan to maintain this forever, I love cheese way to much for that, but I do plan to stick with the no soda and as little sugar as possible part. I plan to bulk up our at home meals with more healthy meal options and stop throwing pasta in every meal just because it’s easy but to learn to not exist on carbs and sugar alone. Who knows maybe this will be the year I actually start working out again…#dontholdyourbreath
So that is 2016 in a nutshell and a tiny bit of what 2017 may hold. What about you? What’s your State of The Union?